Ellie and Corrie decide to go on a camping trip with five of their schoolmates during the summer. The teenagers have a fun time, but when they return home it is eerily quiet. With none of their parents or anyone else around, the teenagers discover their town has been invaded. Their only chance of survival is to fight back…
Tomorrow, When the War Began is standard invasion fare, with little distinguishing it from the plethora of other films that focus on this theme. An unlikely group of individuals fight to survive in this formulaic movie. There is nothing that stands out; director and screenwriter Stuart Beattie shows little originality with this film.
Despite being an hour and forty-five minutes in length, Tomorrow, When the War Began seems a lot longer than this. There are periods in the film when the momentum completely falters. Although some exposition is necessary at the beginning of the film, it takes too long for the action to commence. Moreover, the ending of the film feels rather anticlimactic, given the sometimes meandering pace up to this point.
The dialogue in the film is at times awful. While the banter between the teens at the beginning appears fairly natural, some of the lines after the turning point are truly cringeworthy. Although the Australian rural setting is little different to the usual American fare, it offers little else besides some picturesque scenery. Production values in the film are good. The big action set pieces are minimal, though, with more of the duration given to the teens hiding rather than fighting.
Performances are adequate in Tomorrow, When the War Began. However, as protagonist Ellie, Caitlin Stasey’s attempts at intensity feel less than convincing. Elsewhere, Rachel Hurd-Wood and Lincoln Lewis are a little more believable in their fear as Corrie and Kevin. What is refreshing about the film is that all the actors look like regular teenagers, especially compared to the overly good-looking types that litter Hollywood films of this ilk.
Tomorrow, When the War Began is instantly forgettable. The film is comparable to 2010’s Skyline, with its emphasis on the downtime between events, rather than the events themselves. Unfortunately, this just isn’t very interesting for viewers. The ending indicates a guaranteed sequel, but it is highly questionable whether a film such as Tomorrow, When the War Began deserves a wide release, let alone a follow up.